Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Kevin Lankinen Blanks Red Wings, Earns First NHL Shutout in 2-0 Win


The Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Detroit Red Wings 2-0 at Little Caesars Arena on Wednesday night behind goaltender Kevin Lankinen’s first NHL shutout. Lankinen, 25, stopped all 29 Red Wings’ shots, and he even recorded a secondary assist on Philipp Kurashev’s game-winning goal in the second period. What a night for Lankinen! The Blackhawks are now 4-0-0 against Detroit this season and have outscored them 14-5 in the process.

“It feels awesome,” Lankinen said. “It’s just great. It’s one of those nights that you always dream about growing up. First, you want to get your first game, you want to get your first win, then, you want to get your first shutout. It’s nice to get that under the belt, but at the same time, I’m just hungry for more.”

Kurashev Dances Through Detroit

Following a scoreless opening period, the Blackhawks managed to strike first on the powerplay near the mid-way point of the game thanks to an OUTSTANDING individual effort by Kurashev. The Blackhawks 2018 fourth-round pick (No. 120 overall) received a pass from Duncan Keith in transition, swiftly split a pair of Detroit defensemen, and beat goaltender Jonathan Bernier five-hole for a miraculous goal.

“Phil was the big star on that one,” Lankinen said. “He made one hell of a play. He’s going to end up in the highlights with that… One we’re going to remember for a long time, too.”

No better way to step onto the scene than scoring a highlight-reel goal on national television. Kurashev now has five goals on the season, which ranks second among all NHL rookies behind teammate Pius Suter (six). The 21-year-old Swiss forward is tied for third in points with nine through 16 games.

“I made the move and saw I had some space for a breakaway, so I tried to do the move and I scored, so that was good,” Kurashev said with a smile. “I like to do some moves sometimes to try it out. It was nice that it worked for once.”

Kurashev is just one of three players to be selected in the third-through-seventh rounds of the 2018 NHL Draft to have already made their NHL debut (New Jersey’s Yegor Sharangovich, No. 141 overall, San Jose’s John Leonard, No. 182 overall).

Lankinen Steals The Show…Again

With the Blackhawks clinging to a 1-0 lead after 40 minutes, Lankinen made 11 saves in the third period to secure the Blackhawks’ seventh victory in their last nine games. For a few moments, the tide had shifted entirely in the Red Wings favor, but Lankinen kept his composure and did not allow the puck to find the back of his net.

“It wasn’t a 4-0 game, maybe could’ve been,” head coach Jeremy Colliton said. “Those shutouts where you need every last save, those are pressure-packed.”

Lankinen is now 7-2-3 with a 2.29 goals-against average and .931 save percentage through his first 12 NHL starts. The Helsinki, Finland native is also 3-0-0 against the Red Wings this season with just three goals allowed.

Blackhawks In Second Place

After a pair of victories against Detroit, the Blackhawks are tied for first place in the Discover NHL Central Division with 22 points and a 9-5-4 record. Yes, they do have more games played than most teams, but it’s been an impressive and unexpected start nonetheless.

“It’s fun to be around,” Lankinen said. “We’ve got a really good group of guys. We’ve found our groove. We’ve found our identity. Like Jeremy has said, we’re on the path to becoming a great team. We still have to improve on a lot of things, but we’re on the right path, so it’s exciting.”

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